02-07-2012, 04:00 PM #1
200 years ago today: Charles Dickens bicentennial, 07 Feb
Somehow fitting that Dickens was born on a day of upheaval and cataclysm across The Great Pond, the river most associated in the public's mind with slavery having changed its very course due to earthquake and the New Madrid Fault:
Some good, old-fashioned tabloid blowhardism at work here:
As Charles Dickens celebrates his 200th birthday, why the greatest
of all British novelists would not have a chance of making it today... (Daily Mail)
And, similarly, though with a better shot at clanging the bell:
Charles Dickens novels 'too long for today's young' says writer's biographer (Daily Mail)
Fun (well, more fun than that last lot) short articles:
Ten things you might not know about Charles Dickens (nationalpost.com) 10 Greatest Charles Dickens Characters (theatlanic.com)
Guardian, with what's up, celebration-wise: Dickens's 200th birthday celebrated around the world and on the web
And from PopCandy via USAToday, lots of links (Dickens quotes, Dickens quiz, etc.): Charles Dickens' 200th: Eleven ways to celebrate
02-07-2012, 04:36 PM #2
I luurrrrrve me some Dickens, especially Bleak House and Hard Times!
Happy Birthday!“Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all." -Abp Oscar Romero
02-07-2012, 04:49 PM #3
In terms of the very difficult to achieve "best first lines in a novel....and best last lines," Dickens rules, accomplishing the rare double:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (....)
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."
02-07-2012, 07:03 PM #4
I absolutely adore Charles Dickens' writings! I love many of his works for different reasons and would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite. Great Expectations is near the top of the list, and I feel certain that George C. Scott's portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is exactly what Mr. Dickens intended. jmo
"G-d bless us; everyone."
02-07-2012, 07:13 PM #5
Lengthy; improbable; funny; brilliant:
The World of Charles Dickens, Complete With Pizza Hut (New York Times)
Five years ago, I flew to England to see the grand opening of something improbable: an attraction called Dickens World.
It promised to be an “authentic” re-creation of the London of Charles Dickens’s novels, complete with soot, pickpockets, cobblestones, gas lamps, animatronic Dickens characters and strategically placed chemical “smell pots” that would, when heated, emit odors of offal and rotting cabbage.
Its centerpiece was the Great Expectations boat ride, which started in a rat-infested creek, flew over the Thames, snaked through a graveyard and splashed into a sewer. Its staff had all been trained in Victorian accents and body language.
Visitors could sit at a wooden desk and get berated by an angry Victorian schoolteacher, watch Dickensian holograms antagonize one another in a haunted house or set their kids loose in a rainbow-colored play area called, ominously, Fagin’s Den, after the filthy kidnapper from “Oliver Twist.”
The park’s operating budget was $124 million.
Dickens World, in other words, sounded less like a viable business than it did a mockumentary, or a George Saunders short story, or the thought experiment of a radical Marxist seeking to expose the terminal bankruptcy at the heart of consumerism.
02-07-2012, 07:26 PM #6Done. Put a Fork in Me.
- Join Date
- Dec 2008
I just watched a biography about Dickens last night. Oddly enough, I had no clue that we were about to celebrate his birthday, much less one of such import. I just picked the show out of a myriad of others.
02-07-2012, 07:39 PM #7Registered User
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- Aug 2003
- Palm Springs
For those who care, Christopher Hitchens wrote his last essay on Dickens before Hitchens died. It is printed in this month's Vanity Fair.
Hitchens notes the irony that Dickens is so revered here in the States when he had nothing but contempt for us Americans. Dicken's truly dreadful novel, Martin Chuzzlewitt, devotes at least 300 pages to portraying all Americans as hustlers, swindlers and fools.
02-07-2012, 07:49 PM #8
Here's the Hitch-Dickens-VF link:
Charles Dickens’s Inner Child
While it’s tempting to see Charles Dickens as a fusion of his heroes and villains, on the great British novelist’s 200th birthday his true gifts should be recognized: a respect for childhood and a willingness to atone for his mistakes.
The Dark Side of Dickens
Why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men
02-08-2012, 07:09 AM #9
Don't miss reading in its entirety the New York Times' "The World of Charles Dickens, Complete With Pizza Hut" (link above), if only - and not for this only; it's also a splendid look at Dickens and literary celebrity - for lines like Dickens biographer G.K. Chesterton's, on the novels:
“It is well to be able to realize that contact with the Dickens world is almost like a physical contact; it is like stepping suddenly into the hot smells of a greenhouse, or into the bleak smell of the sea. We know that we are there.”
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